User ID: Password:

May 12, 2009

Tech stable full of talented tailbacks

By: Jimmy Robertson



32 Darren Evans (6-0, 213, r-Soph.)

34 Ryan Williams (5-9, 205, r-Fr.)

25 Josh Oglesby (5-11, 207, r-Soph.)

27 Zac Evans (5-10, 191, Fr.)


42 Kenny Jefferson (5-9, 220, r-Sr.)

31 Kenny Younger (5-11, 214, r-Jr.)

40 Joey Phillips (5-11, 218, r-Fr.)

44 Josh Call (5-10, 255, r-Fr.)

Tech running backs coach Billy Hite already has told his tailbacks not to pay attention to the depth chart.

“They all got work with the 1’s [first team] this spring,” he said. “I told them when I called on them and it’s their turn, they better get out there and do it.”

The tailback position is certainly in fine shape, with last year’s starter, Darren Evans, returning and two talented prospects in Josh Oglesby and Ryan Williams pushing him at every turn. All three played extremely well this spring – at least until Oglesby went down with an ankle sprain in the final scrimmage – and figure into the plans for the upcoming fall.

As expected, Evans, who rushed for 1,265 yards a year ago, got limited reps this spring, as Hite wanted to give the other two an opportunity.

“I know what Darren can do,” he said. “I wanted to give those other guys some reps.

“I thought Josh made great strides. He saw the holes and he made the cuts, and he did so at full speed. That’s what we were trying to get him to do last year. He’s much improved.

Ryan Williams exhibited a ton of big-play capability this spring.
“Ryan had a great spring. He’s a threat every time he touches the ball. He’s got the vision, he’s got the moves and he’s strong.

He’s an exciting prospect. Last fall, he struggled with pass protection and blitz pickups, but he got in the film room and he’s figured it all out.”

Also, Zac Evans, a walk-on from nearby Christiansburg, Va., had a good spring. Hite hopes he can develop into that Dustin Pickle-type role.

At fullback, Kenny Jefferson stood at the top of the depth chart following spring practice, which is no surprise because the rising redshirt senior has the experience ahead of the other candidates.

“He had a good spring,” Hite said. “He’s physical, and he’s played a bunch. He understands the offense and what defenses are doing.”

Kenny Younger, Joey Phillips and Josh Call round out the depth chart at fullback. Younger is returning from a torn ACL suffered last fall and labored during the early part of spring. But he gradually gained confidence in his knee and his play improved as a result.

“It’s really amazing he was even on the field,” Hite said. “I think the knee was on his mind the early part of spring. He was playing too high and he didn’t turn himself loose until the end. He finally started getting his pads down and he played much better.

“Joey made strides as well. He’s got great hands and he’s got that wrestler’s background, which helps. He’s still learning and needs to keep improving.

“Josh is a strong player. He’s physical. But he’s a little too heavy and he struggles some in space. He and I have talked about that.”